Philadelphia, PA, January 20, 2000--Raymond and Ruth Perelman announced today an unprecedented gift of $15 million to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A Trustee for 25 years, in 1997 Mr. Perelman succeeded the late Philip I. Berman as Chairman of the Museum's Board of Trustees. The largest unrestricted monetary gift from an individual in the Museum's history, it will support the Museum's acquisition and renovation of the Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company (RSL) Building. Mr. and Mrs. Perelman have been key advocates of the Museum's comprehensive expansion initiative. A Philadelphia native, Mr. Perelman is an industrialist and entrepreneur and, along with his wife Ruth and two sons, Ronald and Jeffrey, has been engaged in philanthropic causes at both the local and national level.
"Ray and Ruth Perelman have done so much to bring the Philadelphia Museum of Art to this amazing new chapter in its history, and the Museum's Trustees and staff celebrate their visionary leadership," said Anne d'Harnoncourt, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. "This extraordinarily generous gift is in perfect keeping with the Perelmans' remarkable history of support for worthwhile civic, cultural, and educational causes. Ray and Ruth's deep commitment to their hometown continues to enhance and, indeed, transform Greater Philadelphia. We thank them, and look forward to welcoming new audiences and a new century in the RSL Building, the magnificent Art Deco addition to the Museum's growing campus."
Mr. Perelman added, "During the past 25 years Ruth and I have seen the Philadelphia Museum of Art develop into one of the leading art museums and cultural centers in the country. Not only the Philadelphia community, but people from all over the world have benefited from the Museum's permanent collections, special programs and commitment to developing artists as well as established masters. Ruth and I desire to assure the continued growth and excellence of the Museum, and with this gift seek to inspire others to join us in this important effort."
Mr. Perelman has been a Trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 1975, a Vice-Chairman since 1992. His Trustee responsibilities have included service on the Budget Committee and the Executive Committee. During his Chairmanship, the Museum has presented a series of major exhibitions, including Best Dressed: A Celebration of Style in 1997, Recognizing Van Eyck and Delacroix: The Late Work in 1998 and, in 1999, Goya: Another Look and Worldly Goods: The Arts of Early Pennsylvania.
During Mr. Perelman's tenure as Chairman, the Museum has also announced major additions to its permanent collections, among them Beauford Delaney's Portrait of James Baldwin (1945), John Singleton Copley's Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mifflin (1773), and a rare calligraphy scroll by the 17th-century Japanese master Hon'ami Koetsu; completed a comprehensive Long-Range Plan in 1998 and, most recently, secured its unprecedented expansion into the RSL Building at 2501 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Ruth and Raymond Perelman were major contributors to the Museum's Landmark Renewal Fund. They are collectors of modern art with particular interest in Aristide Maillol, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Dubuffet. Residents of Center City, Philadelphia, they are active in many civic and community causes.
Located across the street from the Museum's original landmark structure, the RSL Building offers 100,000 square feet of space on a two-acre site. Both the RSL Building and the original Museum building date to the late 1920s, and were designed by the distinguished Philadelphia architectural firm, Zantzinger, Borie and Medary. A physical space consistent with the Museum's own integrity, beauty, and architectural significance, the RSL Building will greatly enhance the Museum's ability to fully realize the three facets of its mission: the creation of exhibitions, informative educational programs, and inspiring presentations of its internationally celebrated permanent collections.
The main building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rodin Museum, and the two historic houses in Fairmount Park furnished and administered by the Museum--Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove--are owned by the City of Philadelphia. On December 16, 1999, the City Council of Philadelphia unanimously approved the City's ownership of the RSL Building, contributed $2 million to its acquisition, and made the building eligible for future municipal capital and operating support.